KUALA LUMPUR (May 22): The KLCI continued its downward trend, led by Tenaga Nasional Bhd on concerns the state-controlled utility may take over 1Malaysia Development Bhd's (1MDB) power-generation assets.
At 5pm, the KLCI dropped 7.54 points to settle at 1,787.50. Other major movers included Sime Darby Bhd after the group reported a drop in third quarter net profit and revenue from a year earlier.
Tenaga and Sime Darby were the largest and third-largest decliners across Bursa Malaysia.
“Investors may be concerned on reports that Tenaga may take over 1MDB’s power generation assets under Edra Global Energy Bhd in a deal reported to be worth as much as RM16 billion, and that could have caused some heavy selling of Tenaga shares today,” a remisier told theedgemarkets.com.
The KLCI had extended losses after falling 15.07pts yesterday amid Malaysia's political and 1MDB concerns.
Today, Bursa Malaysia saw 1.58 billion shares valued at RM1.93 billion traded. There were 296 gainers against 498 decliners while 342 counters remained unchanged.
Leading gainers included Nestle (M) Bhd and United Plantations Bhd. The most-actively traded stocks included Frontken Corp Bhd and China Automobile Parts Holdings Ltd.
Despite the KLCI's decline, the ringgit strengthened as investors took the cue from higher crude oil prices.
The ringgit strengthened to 3.5845 against the US dollar. Compared to the Singapore dollar, the ringgit appreciated to 2.6949.
Reuters reported that the ringgit advanced as a rebound in oil prices eased concerns that lower crude may hurt the country's trade and fiscal accounts. Malaysia is a net oil exporter.
Asian share markets rose. Japan's Nikkei 225 was up 0.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.7% while South Korea’s Kospi climbed 1.1%.
According to Reuters, Asian shares rose on Friday after Wall Street set another record high with prospects for a Federal Reserve rate hike in June all but quashed, while the dollar was on the defensive after downbeat US data.